The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
5 days ago - 2 Likes
St George-Illawarra maintains there is no animosity with former Kiwis captain Quentin Pongia who leaves the National Rugby League (NRL) for England after just two matches.
Pongia's brief return to the NRL ends tomorrow night when he plays against South Sydney at WIN Stadium in Wollongong. The prop then jets to England where he has signed with Wigan until the end of the season.
"It was out of the blue but he was pretty straight up about it. We were keen for him to stay until the end of the year because he's a good quality player," Dragons chief executive Peter Doust said.
The Dragons could not offer Pongia a long-term deal so when Wigan came calling he jumped at the chance.
"It's probably his last contract in football so it's understandable," Doust added.
"He's playing for us tomorrow so that only leaves us with a game to worry about (without Ryles and Bailey)."
Pongia, who won the French title with Villeneuve last month, made his Australian comeback on June 7 in a reserve grade match and played off the bench against Newcastle last Friday night.
A short-term deal at third-placed Wigan was brokered by his manager, former Kiwis and Wigan coach Frank Endacott.
"Quentin is looking to finish his career in England and we were if Quentin could train and play with us for the remainder of the season," Wigan chairman Maurice Lindsay said.
"It will put him in the shop window should he wish to try for a British club next year and will give us some forward cover for the remainder of the season."
Endacott, who is currently back in the UK for a short spell, said Pongia would be a worthy addition.
"I am sure he will help the development of the young forwards at Wigan and I was pleased to be involved with my old club again," Endacott told the English Super League website.
Pongia will link up with former Kiwis and St George prop Craig Smith at Wigan while former Great Britain hardman Terry O'Connor also plays up front for the Warriors.